Consumers are savvier than ever. Before making a buying decision, most consumers will research the product or service they want to buy and the business that provides it. From asking trusted friends and family members for advice and investigating the company to reading customer reviews, today’s buyers need to be informed before they buy.
According to HubSpot writer Sophia Bernazzani, “The fact of the matter is, your company’s best marketers and sales reps aren’t your employees — they’re your existing customers.”
If you don’t create space for your customers to post feedback, they won’t, and you’ll lose out on potential consumers who rely on reviews to make buying decisions. Google, Yelp, Amazon, Facebook and the Better Business Bureau are popular venues for reviews and for potential customers seeking information on your business or products, notes Bernazzani. Your site, too, is the perfect spot for customers to leave reviews. Make it as easy as possible for them to share their thoughts and experience with your business; incorporate links or badges to sites like Yelp and Amazon, and make your site mobile-friendly, she adds.
Show your current and potential customers that reviews and feedback are important to you. By highlighting your customers’ comments and feedback on your site, you’re showing the world that their words matter to you. Just ask them first before you publish the info.
“Many businesses feature customer testimonials or reviews right on their homepage,” says founder of FE International and Entrepreneur contributor Thomas Smale.
Beyond just the standard review sites, Smale suggests reaching out to bloggers to review your products and/or business. Links from those sites could have the added benefit of improving your website’s search engine optimization.
Interact with reviewers
Providing a space for feedback is just one part of optimizing your customers’ reviews. In order to show how much you value their feedback, you need to engage with them. According to John Rampton, entrepreneur, founder of Due and Company and Forbes subscriber, you need to respond to every customer comment, answer each question and address any issues. Be sure to always thank them for their review, even if it’s less than glowing.
Leaving feedback, answering a survey or sending an email all takes time. Even your most loyal, happiest customers who would love to leave a comment are busy. Sometimes a little encouragement, like in the form of a discount, free gift, coupon code or other incentive, will encourage your busy customers to take the time to leave a comment, according to Bernazzani.
Meet face to face
Having face time with your customers can lead to insightful reviews, both positive and negative, that can help your business grow. Bernazzani suggests hosting an event, conference or get-together, where your customers can come together, check out a new product, earn a discount, and most importantly share their thoughts and feedback about your business.
The fundamental way your business can earn positive reviews is by offering outstanding customer service. Encourage your customers to share their experience and make it clear that what they think is important to you. Make your customers feel valued, and your business will flourish.